King Charles III hosted his first State Opening of Parliament today, marking the formal start of the parliamentary year, which sets the government's agenda.
The event began with King Charles and Queen Camilla taking part in a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. The royals traveled in the Diamond Jubilee State Coach, the same historic horse-drawn carriage they used on their Coronation Day, in May, created in 2012 for the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
King Charles wore the Imperial State Crown during the ceremony—marking his first time wearing a crown since his coronation—and the Parliament Robe of State, as is tradition. (The Imperial State Crown is often used on royal ceremonial occasions, and before the king's coronation, it was last seen on Queen Elizabeth's coffin during her funeral.)
Camilla, meanwhile, debuted the iconic Diamond Diadem, also known as the George IV State Diadem. She paired it with her most famous royal outfit yet: her coronation dress. The white gown designed by Bruce Oldfield is embellished with floral appliqués, as well as with a crown, the names of her children and grandchildren, and embroidered versions of her two beloved dogs, Beth and Bluebell.
The sparkling headpiece she wore today was made for the coronation of King George IV in 1820. Since then, the Diamond Diadem has been worn by every British queen and queen consort—from Queen Adelaide to Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother), Queen Elizabeth II, and now Queen Camilla.
The crown is set with 1,333 diamonds, including a four-carat pale yellow brilliant diamond that sits in the center of the front cross, per the Royal Collection Trust. Meanwhile, the band is set with pearls. The four crosses alternating with four sprays around the piece represent the national emblems of England (roses), Ireland (shamrocks) and Scotland (thistles).
The late Queen Elizabeth, who died on September 8, 2022, famously wore the Diamond Diadem for the first time in public at her first State Opening of Parliament in 1952, and on her way to Westminster Abbey for her crowning ceremony on the day of her coronation, in 1953. She also wore the crown on the way to most State Openings of Parliament and in various historic royal photographs, including those used for British postage stamps.
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